The primary objective of the day was to let Beaumaris know what Div 1 football was all about after their soft start to the competition. We were on our home MCG in Boss James, in pristine conditions although we did have to kick off the early morning dew. When the opponent choose the leather footy, we felt that was going to play into our hands with the slippery ball expected to be on the deck more often than not.
The first quarter started at a frenetic intensity, with the footy locked away on the far side the coaches were calling out for the binoculars. It was hard to gauge who was doing the in and under work, but we soon worked out Kai who was giving his team lots of drive. Luke and Maxi C were providing moving targets for us across CHF, but scoring opportunities were stifled as to many numbers were getting drawn into the deep forward zone. Jenson continued his recent good form from half back and was joined by Oli H whose rebound work did not allow the ball to enter the Beauy forward arc. Maso completed the brick wall across half back and was at his competitive best crashing into the aerial contests. Following some good link play from Josh N, the ball was being delivered into the forward structure that was functioning well. Elliot saw the opportunity to weave through some heavy traffic to post what would be our first and only major score on the board for the afternoon.
Welcome to Rovers style footy was the message sent to Beauy, and the challenge for our boys was to sustain this effort for 4 quarters. With the marking talls of Beauy starting to come into play, we had to continue to play smarter, and with clever use of handball from both Billy and Jack C, and Josh D being prepared to run and carry to clear the lines we had a temporary reprieve. Beauy kept driving the ball deep, and whilst Josh B put in his nomination for the “Iron Fist” a couple times, and Jake T was wearing his opponent like a glove, we still eventually conceded a goal. If not for some desperate efforts from Kyle who was prepared to push down to help the defenders, the half time deficit may have grown.
The half time message was about winning the contested footy and “maintaining our structure”, and upon the opening bounce we got the early clearance from an Archie burst, and to script Ben S made a strong lead into space and marked to set up an early shot on goal. It was not to be, and for the remainder of the quarter an arm wrestle unfolded. Jackson did what he does best and took on 3 players to lay the kind of tackle that gives your team momentum. Some positive forward entries followed and with Louis impacting the crashing contest and Jacky G ready to pounce a late goal was beckoning. We rued some missed opportunities to get ahead on the scoreboard, but set ourselves the challenge of being the first team to score down the clubhouse end in the last quarter.
At ¾ time reference was made to the scoreboard (albeit malfunctioning, and it should have read 1:4:10 to 1.5.11 against) it was game destined to be decided by points. We had early control of the footy with Ted taking several strong marks and the signs were positive as the ball was locked in our forward half. Lucas R clutched a mark forward for us, but we were unable to convert this forward entry into a scoring opportunity. Once we lost control of the footy and it became locked in their forward line, it felt like a long way to get the ball back to our half with our tired legs becoming evident. With scores locked on 1.7 each beyond the 10 min mark, it started to feel like a draw was the best case scenario. Nicho was able to prevent several scoring attempts deep in the backline, but suddenly their players started to find space in dangerous areas. When a point was rushed and we became behind on the scoreboard, we need a bit of coast to coast ball movement to give ourselves a chance. Unfortunately we were unable to get an effective clearance, and Beauy were able to take a couple of marks and when a goal resulted we were up against it. We won the centre clearance and with a dangerous forward entry were about to snap a late goal to reduce the margin to a point but the siren sounded to end a truly exhausting encounter for players and parents.
Coaches Ash & Sean